Samsung made a number of manufacturing changes geared toward safety and quality checking after the PR debacle that was the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and the company has released a news post detailing some of those changes. In order to get this information out, Samsung met up with an MIT reporter, who reviewed the company’s processes and wrote a white paper on the matter. The full paper includes details like how Samsung tests its batteries, what kind of quality tests are run, and best practices that employees follow on the factory floor. According to Samsung, it wanted to release this information for three reasons; the first is public transparency in the face of scrutiny, the second is to share what it has learned from the Galaxy Note 7 disaster with the rest of the industry, while the third, and possibly biggest, is to inspire changes in the industry, encouraging all manufacturers to adopt similar safety practices.
One interesting point from the white paper is that Samsung conducts testing on its products that is intentionally destructive. A given product is pushed to its limit in various ways in order to find fault points, figure out whether daily use or consumer accidents would affect the product, and what will happen when the product is pushed past its limits in a certain way and fails. Tests include things like exposing batteries to extreme heat in controlled conditions or bending and puncturing them until they actually blow up, as well as submerging phones in various liquids to see what types of liquids cause severe damage before others and why, as well as how deep a phone may be able to go before it suffers water damage, and where the point of ingress was when that finally happens.
Samsung’s new safety and testing processes may be sparing the company another multi-billion dollar ordeal like the one suffered due to the Galaxy Note 7, but the new methods themselves don’t come cheap. In order to implement everything effectively, Samsung had to construct a lot of entirely new facilities just for testing and had to overhaul a lot of its existing manufacturing operations and equipment. The ongoing maintenance costs of all that equipment are likely not cheap, and Samsung actually loses a good bit of its inventory due to its destructive testing practices. Batteries are a good example of this, with around 3 percent of the company’s monthly battery yield being intentionally destroyed in testing.